KOLLAM: Around one lakh entrepreneurs operating in the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector are slated to benefit from a social security scheme initiated by the state government.
Claimed to be a first of its kind in the country, the scheme is meant for entrepreneurs and their families. The state government has sanctioned an amount of Rs 1 crore for the implementation of the scheme, which will be linked to the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana and the Life Insurance Corporation of India’s group insurance scheme.
According to officers with the Industries Department, the scheme is an extension of the Social Security Fund Trust mentioned in the 2017-18 State Budget.“The role being played by the MSME sector in the state’s socio-economic growth is immense,” said an officer with Industries Department.“Though the state government itself is implementing a slew of programmes that support the sector financially and technically, it is of the view an insurance and social security scheme is the need of the hour.” That particular context, the officer said, has prompted the government to roll out such a scheme. Set to be of the group insurance kind, it will not only cover the entrepreneurs but their families too.
“The annual premium to be paid by the beneficiary is Rs 200. It will be equally shared by the entrepreneur and the state government. As we were planning to cover one lakh entrepreneurs under the scheme, the premium amount required is `2 crore. Of that, `1 crore has already been sanctioned by the government. The rest of the amount will be sourced from the beneficiaries,” the officer said.
The scheme, which proposes a claim amount of `4 lakh for death in case of accident, will provide `2 lakh for normal death. In the case of permanent disability, the maximum claim amount will be ` 2 lakh and for partial disability, `1 lakh. Other than life cover, the scheme offers scholarships to members’ children studying in Classes IX to XII.
It is stipulated the beneficiary should employ at least two people other than the proprietor, as certified by the general manager of the District Industries Centre. Additionally, the beneficiary’s unit should be in operation for three successive financial years prior to the financial year in which the application is submitted. Entrepreneurs in the age group of 18 to 50 years are eligible to apply for the scheme.Sources with the Industries Department said the state’s social security scheme for the MSME sector comes at a time when the Ministry of Labour and Employment is planning to introduce a similar scheme for informal sectors like MSME and workers not covered under the EPFO or ESIC schemes.
As far as Kerala is concerned, industries that come under the MSME sector include handicrafts, handloom, khadi, food processing, garments and textiles, and the industries related to coir, wood, bamboo, plastic, rubber, leather, clay and electronic or electric components. While the Directorate of Industries and Commerce is acting as a facilitator for industrial promotion and sustainability of the MSME sector, the traditional industrial sector in the state relies upon the help of Directorates of Handloom and Textiles, Directorate of Coir and Khadi and Village Industries Board for its growth.